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backgroundchecking RSS feed Tag: backgroundchecking

Recruiting to Avoid a Rocky Mountain High — the Impact of State Marijuana Laws

Dr. John Sullivan
Mar 31, 2014, 5:34 am ET

marijuanaHow a state law becomes a recruiting issue 

I recently visited Boulder, Colorado, and guess what: everyone there was talking about the new marijuana law. If you are recruiting leader for a large corporation, you may fail to realize how much the laws of individual states can either positively or negatively impact your recruiting in that region. Take this Colorado marijuana law, for example. As a result of the law and its related publicity, firms trying to attract talent to the state may get a noticeable increase in applicants from younger workers who view the new law as a positive thing, making the state a great place to work (For example, the University of Colorado had a 33 percent spike in freshman enrollments this year. Some have attempted to attribute the rise at least in part due to the publicity around the law).

But a recruiting leader shouldn’t be surprised to find out that state laws can also have a negative impact on recruiting. Once more using the Colorado example, there is already some indication that employees with families are having second thoughts about relocating there because they are unsure about living in a state where their children could be continually exposed to widespread marijuana use. And before you make the assumption that the recruiting implications of this law are unique, realize that the same positive and negative impacts may come from other state laws relating to high profile issues. Those might include local laws covering gay rights/marriage, abortion, access to voting, tax rates, and school choice and even, as happened in Florida, gun laws.

Recruiting Challenges in a 420 World keep reading…

New Tips Out on Background Checks

Todd Raphael
Mar 11, 2014, 10:33 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.27.21 AMNew assistance is out from the U.S. government on the use of background checks.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission co-published the documents. Fortunately, they’re written pretty clearly, and have a good set of links for more information.

There’s a link for employer information as well as a page for job seekers and current employees.

Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by Hosting an SAT Test

John Zappe
Mar 7, 2014, 11:29 am ET

SAT sample testYou didn’t forget, did you? Forget that today is Employee Appreciation Day? Or forget what your high school SAT scores were?

First things first, which, for our more-or-less weekly roundup columns means that we begin with the weird, the odd, and the stuff you just gotta shake your head at. In this case, that’s the SATs.

Now, just as the company behind the Scholastic Aptitude Tests is overhauling the test, and saying it’s barely relevant, employers are starting to ask candidates for their SAT scores. It would be one thing — an odd thing, considering the test is taken in high school — if the candidates were upcoming or recent college grads. But The Wall Street Journal says mid-career people are being asked for their scores. keep reading…

Los Angeles Wants Probation Officers — But This Time, They Better Not Be Troublemakers

Todd Raphael
Oct 22, 2013, 6:42 am ET

la countyScreen Shot 2013-10-21 at 3.17.21 PMThey’re looking for probation officers here in Los Angeles, but the county doesn’t want to repeat the experience of 2005 to 2008, when many hires didn’t get much of a background check and ended up with DUIs or even battery arrests.

Yes, those were probation officers themselves, getting “very limited to no background checks,” Don Meyer, a Los Angeles County Probation Department assistant chief, tells me. So, now, “we want to fill positions more than anybody but we want to do it the right way.” keep reading…

Flunking the Test: Demystifying Pre-Employment Testing

Jackye Clayton
Sep 5, 2013, 1:37 am ET

The sad truth is, in the pursuit of money, needing a job and fear of failure, people create false resumes and falsify information when they go to an interview. To help ensure candidates are who they say they are, many companies do pre-employment testing before even doing an interview, let alone making an offer.

Questions to consider when choosing a testing or assessment program include: keep reading…

Sacred Cows and Silly Practices Die Slowly in Recruiting

Dr. John Sullivan
Jul 29, 2013, 6:11 am ET

Recruiting is full of practices that seem to last forever. Unfortunately, many practices endure for years despite the fact that they add no value to the hiring process. I call these well-established practices “sacred cows” because many lon-gtime recruiters and hiring managers vigorously defend them even though both company and academic data shows that they should be discarded.

The need to identify and then kill these sacred cows was reinforced recently by some compelling research data revealed by Google’s head of HR, Laszlo Bock. For example, extensive data from Google demonstrated that five extremely common recruiting practices (brainteaser interview questions, unstructured interviews, student GPAs or test scores, and conducting more than four interviews) all had zero or minimal value for successfully predicting the on-the-job performance of candidates. But despite this hard data, practices like brainteaser interview questions will likely continue for years.

Recruiting Has a Long, Checkered History of Silliness keep reading…

Is Your Background Screener Doing the Job? Here’s How to Tell

John Zappe
Jul 1, 2013, 5:34 pm ET

Background screen - freeChoosing and monitoring your background screening vendor is as important — and maybe more so even — than the interview you conduct with candidates.

“The worst thing you can do,” says Fred Giles, chair of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, “is to treat it (your background screening) like a commodity and choose the lowest bidder.”

Once you have made a selection, monitoring the performance and maintaining regular contact is also a  must. And, says Giles, “Most significant, most important, is that employers make sure to review the process, their process … Have a clearly defined process for evaluating the results … and an opportunity for the candidate to explain (any negatives).” keep reading…

Background-checking Companies Taking on the Employee Side of the Process

Todd Raphael
Jun 4, 2013, 2:45 pm ET

eknowid logoAt least a couple of companies, neither too well known yet, have a different take on a background check: they’re having job candidates take a turn in the driver’s seat when it comes to the whole process. keep reading…

A Missed Opportunity — Failing to Use References for Recruiting Top Talent

Dr. John Sullivan
Apr 8, 2013, 5:10 am ET

Most know references to be a tool for checking a candidate’s background, but reference-related factors can also be one of the simplest, cheapest, and effective areas for identifying top candidates.

Even the best corporations that excel at recruiting routinely fail to realize that references and the reference process itself can be powerful sources for identifying and selling top talent.

References should be considered valuable recruiting targets because anyone who is given as a reference by top talent is almost always more experienced and knowledgeable then the individual who designated them as a reference. The availability/visibility of references has dramatically increased now that the names of references can be easily found on the Internet and within LinkedIn. As a result, smart recruiting leaders and recruiters should re-examine references as one of the most underused but cost-effective areas for identifying top talent.

The Top 8 Most Effective Reference-related Recruiting Approaches keep reading…

Confirmation Bias Can Get in the Way of Smart Hiring Decisions

Yves Lermusi
Mar 20, 2013, 1:01 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 12.46.42 PMChip and Dan Heath have two best sellers behind them and I suspect soon a third one. I am fortunate to know Chip, and received a pre-release of Decisive, their new book to be released on March 26. It is a must read for any business leader.

Of the many business decisions, it is often said that the most important decisions are people decisions. So the question is: How do we make better talent decisions when we know that we get it wrong half of the time? To reassure you, poor decisions are not only made in the field of talent management. The book mentions that doctors categorizing themselves as “completely certain” about a diagnosis were wrong 40% of the time.

In order to address this issue, to get it right, know what causes us to make wrong decisions. In Decisive, this is explained as “the four villains of decision making.” One that resonates with us a great deal, as we think about talent decisions, is the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the act of making emotional decisions and only gathering information that supports such decisions. The difficulty here is that these decisions appear to be researched and scientific, but when you look closer, they end up being subject to the confirmation bias.

Let’s look at an example and see how you can avoid the confirmation bias for you and your organization:  keep reading…

Compliance with New EEOC Guidelines Can Help You Improve Quality of Hires

Will Barada
Jan 21, 2013, 12:18 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 1.53.13 PMIn early 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office of Legal Counsel issued updated guidance regarding the handling of criminal history checks in the course of background screening. Furthermore, the EEOC has announced it will aggressively pursue, as class actions, claims of discrimination that arise as a result of criminal history checks. Although the 2012 guidance clarifies long-standing EEOC policies, it is particularly involved — and initially can be confusing for HR professionals and recruiters, alike. keep reading…

The Worst Recruiting Mistakes

Keith Halperin
Jan 10, 2013, 5:04 am ET

Late last year, I checked with my recruiting friends (yes, I still have a few left) and colleagues as to what they thought were the worst recruiting mistakes that companies make. What they said is below. What do you think are the worst? keep reading…

Media Screening Can Help to Avoid Brand Damage Through a Bad Hire

Jeff Wizceb
Jan 10, 2013, 1:25 am ET
Kean University's president

Kean University’s president

We are all familiar with the story of the Yahoo CEO who took on his role in early 2012, only to be dismissed when stories arose that he padded his resume with an embellished college degree.

Many executive screening packages only look at qualifications, work history, education, and public records, that can result in “misses” like the one above.

To help develop the “big picture,” many companies are looking to add media screening when hiring at the executive level. Media screening is a comprehensive search through various databases to access thousands of news sources including newspapers, trade publications, professional journals, articles, transcripts, and numerous others. The results of this search can include award nominations and other achievements by the applicant, and community and industry association involvement, business and job disputes, references to criminal activity, or other potentially negative information.

Is Media Screening the Same as Social Media Screening? keep reading…

What Employers Should Know About the Regulation of Marijuana

Ron Chapman, Jr.
Jan 7, 2013, 4:01 am ET

co-authored by Roger G. Trim, a shareholder in the Denver office of Ogletree Deakins

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 1.01.38 PMAs of January 2013, 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books legalizing the use of medical marijuana. A number of additional states have gone even further by passing laws decriminalizing or eliminating jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana was for medical use. Finally, two states — Colorado and Washington — passed laws on November 6, 2012, affirmatively legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Many employers are concerned about what these marijuana laws mean for them and whether they need to make any changes to their drug policies in light of recent developments. keep reading…

Success With Pre-hire Assessment Starts With Using the Right Tool at the Right Time

Dr. Charles Handler
Nov 28, 2012, 5:35 am ET

While there are many possible ways to use pre-hire assessments, there are some general truths associated with getting the most out of these tools. A good hiring process is a coordinated effort in which the right tool is selected for use at the right time in the process. In many cases talent acquisition professionals (including many of us I/O psychologists) are guilty of being myopic, choosing to focus on the ins and outs of one specific test. Be thorough when it comes to tests, but an effective hiring process requires a focus not only on the individual pieces, but also on the way these pieces work together.

“The funnel” provides the most tried-and-true analogy for configuring components to create a hiring process. Although the funnel may look vastly different in different situations, (for instance more emphasis on screening in high-volume situations), the overall goal is to evaluate people who are unknown to the organization in order to thin the herd while finding those who have what it takes.

While a winning hiring process should include tests, simply chucking a test in the hopper will not get the job done. Despite the many variations possible when constructing a funnel-based hiring process, there are some universal truths regarding what tools are generally most effective at various stages of the process.

Let’s take a look at a quick summary of the ideal components of a holistic and cohesive hiring process, as well as a generally accepted rough order in which they should be used.

Sourcing: Increasing the Odds Outside the Funnel keep reading…

Real Reference Checks Require These 8 Steps

Jim Roddy
Oct 30, 2012, 5:13 am ET

A few days ago I received a call from a business owner conducting a reference check on a former co-worker of mine. She kept me on the phone for nearly a half hour to ask me several probing questions about the potential hire. I’ve fielded many reference calls over the years, but none of them were as strong as this one.

The typical call I get lasts five minutes with the reference checker basically saying, “We adore this candidate. You love ‘em, too, right?” They make the call hoping I won’t say anything that will cause concern about the candidate which would throttle their company back to square one of the hiring process.

These actions will help you conduct a real reference check instead of a quick cursory call: keep reading…

Have a Cup O’Joe Whilst You (Very) Deep Background Your Candidate

John Zappe
Sep 28, 2012, 2:14 am ET

Background checks have been in the news this week. CareerBuilder says 51 percent of employers have hired people with criminal records.

At our sister site,, lawyer and recruiter Jeff Allen offers some legal advice about what can, can’t, and might be ill-advised in checking references. At, another lawyer weighs in on the significance of the NLRB taking Costco to task over its social media policy.

All that’s important stuff. But can you really say you’ve done a thorough job if you haven’t done a past life background check? Especially when it’s so easy and free? Simply enter the candidate’s DOB here and press Diagnosis. keep reading…

Survey: Half of All Employers Have Hired Workers With a Record

John Zappe
Sep 27, 2012, 12:31 am ET

A CareerBuilder survey released today says 51 percent of human resources managers report their company has hired workers with a criminal record.

It’s an almost impossible-to-believe finding, given the constant drumbeat by criminal rights organizations over the challenges those with records face in landing jobs. However, in light of the National Employment Law Project estimate that 65 million Americans have some kind of criminal record, it’s not so surprising that many are on payrolls across the country.

The online survey was conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Interactive, which polled 2,298 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals about the issue. The records here are those that would typically show up on a background check: convictions for both misdemeanors and felonies, but probably not arrests. keep reading…

Top 10 Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks

Michael Nader
Jun 26, 2012, 2:54 am ET

A recent survey reported that nearly half of all employers conduct social media background checks on job candidates. This practice has included requiring candidates to disclose their usernames, passwords, and other credentials that provide access to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs, e-mail, and other Internet content for the prospective employer’s review.

Federal and state legislators have responded with a flurry of efforts to prohibit employers from requiring candidates to disclose their social network credentials. These efforts have included calling for federal investigations about the practice, introducing bills in Congress that would prohibit the practice, and numerous state legislators introducing and passing legislation that prohibits employers from requiring candidates to disclose their access credentials to the content posted on social media cites.

What should recruiters and hiring managers do? keep reading…

Part Your Hair on the Right — We Have a Roundup

John Zappe and Todd Raphael
Jun 22, 2012, 1:20 am ET

Stress, hair parts, offer rejections, Groupon’s job seekers, background checking, and disabilities — we weigh in on all of them in today’s roundup.

Speaking of weight: the world’s people weigh a collective 316 million tons, of which 17 million tons is in excess globs of body fat. Who knew? Thanks to the researchers at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, now you do.

Wondering what this has to do with recruiting? Nothing, near as we can tell. (Oh, sure, we could have said hiring a fatty will mean time wasted snacking, since the average American needs almost 250 calories just to maintain the excess weight.) But we just thought this is great water cooler talk.

Now, here’s the skinny (no, we couldn’t, can’t, and won’t resist punning): North America has 6 percent of the world’s population, but carries 34 percent of the weight. Don’t go blaming Canada. The U.S. weighs in as the heaviest nation, where it takes a mere 12.2 adults to equal a ton. From now on, we’re counting how many people get on the elevator with us.

Food Stylists Are to Blame

It’s not our fault we eat too much. If those food stylists didn’t make all those dishes look so delicious, who’d eat them? It’s an up-and-coming profession that’s part of the seven awesomeist jobs we never heard of, says Brazen Careerist, a carer site for the under-30s.

keep reading…